Feel like a Mazda Pilot in the new Shinshi Concept

Mazda Shinshi Concept front-end

From the Batmobile to Knight Rider’s KITT, futuristic supercars have captured adult and adolescent imagination alike for generations. You may be more a fan of the souped-up vehicles of “Death Race 2000” or the more grounded tricked out rides of the “The Fast and The Furious” franchise, but we guarantee some Hollywood-style car has caught your eye and affixed itself permanently in your brain. You might be focused on the here and now of your car and it’s modification or issues, but fueling the imagination never hurts.

For those of you in our CorkSport community who always thought Speed Racer’s powerful Mach 5 was dope, you’re going to love this new concept Mazda: the Mazda Shinshi.

The Mazda of the Future?

Mazda Shinshi Concept front-end

Designed by Barcelona’s Miguel Angel Bahri, the Mazda Shinshi looks ready for the mean streets of “Akira’s” Neo-Tokyo. “After the initial thoughts, the challenge was to develop a concept inspired by the Japanese culture,” Nahri explains. “Taking, also, influence from nature and the ocean, with the stingray and the samurai’s DNA serving as a bridge to connect the SHINSHI proposal with Mazda’s design philosophy.” You can delve into all his influences and design process more deeply, from fighter pilots to James Franco, but we think he’s delivered on his inspiration in spades.

With 4 in-wheel electric motors and integrated systems, Bahri didn’t just look at a sleek exterior, he put some attention to performance, as well. The wheel systems are fed by a graphene-optimized supercapacitor and a rotary bio-fueled engine boost that main battery for a clean energy car that might make you scoff, until you see his specs have it max out at 310 kph (192 mph) — still some good race track fun to be had from this environmentally-conscious concept car!

Get ready to Top Gun this ride, Maverick!

Mazda Shinshi concept steering wheel

The feature that really makes this design feel futuristic, though, is the flight control-like steering wheel.

How a wheel like this really functions on the road is pure speculation, but you’ve got to admire the design sense. “Blade Runner”-style flying cars might be many years away, and — let’s be honest — would probably take the fun out of curve-hugging road driving, but a Mazda that makes you feel like a test pilot would be worth a test drive, at least.

What do you think of the Mazda Shinshi concept? Too high tech? Just right? Let us know in the comments below. And keep following the CorkSport blog for more modification advice and tips, Mazda lifestyle talk, and — as the arise — speculation on far out Mazda concepts.

How to Diagnose a Misfire

Diagnosing a Misfire

It’s safe to say that most of us who are into modifying cars have seen this delightful CEL pop up on our dash. The P0300 (random/multiple cylinder misfire) can be one of the most annoying codes when it comes to drivability.

Diagnosing a Misfire

Sometimes a P0300 is very simple to sort out. Other times, it may take all day to track down. That said, here’s a user-friendly guide for those modders who are learning and would like to figure out the problem themselves.

Break down of combustion

In order to properly function, an internal combustion engine has four basic requirements:

  1. Air (O2)
  2. Fuel
  3. Compression
  4. Spark (or ignition)

Loss of one or more of these will cause a misfire. Understanding these requirements will better allow you to diagnose a problem and make an educated decision about what the problem might be — rather than just throwing parts at the car.

Types of misfire codes

There are two types of misfire codes. The first, P0300, means the misfire is happening on more than one cylinder (and/or happening randomly) and the powertrain control module (PCM) isn’t able to find where the misfire is originating from. The other type of misfire code is anything above P0300: P0301, P0302, etc. The last digit indicates the cylinder number that the misfire is occurring on. This means that there is a clear pattern for a misfire occurring on that specific cylinder. These codes are much nicer — and simplify diagnosis of your misfire without a doubt.

Misfires from cylinders

Let’s go ahead and start with the easier type of code.

One day, you’re driving down the road. The car feels a little bit rougher than normal, then your CEL comes on, and the P0304 code comes up on the Accessport/Scan Tool. This means that cylinder number four is having a misfire. Here are a couple steps to figuring out the culprit.

We already know what the four basic combustion requirements. Typically, the easiest and first thing to check would be your ignition system. So we’ll start the diagnosis with the spark plugs and coil packs.

  1. Since the code was for the number four sensor, you’ll start on that cylinder. Number one is on the side where your drive belts are and, in this case, they progress from left to right.
  2. There are two components that could cause an ignition failure, assuming that your PCM is in good working order. These components would be your spark plugs and coil packs. It’s as simple as playing some musical chairs with them to see which one is the culprit.
  3. Take your number four spark plug and swap it over to your number one cylinder. Now take your number four coil pack and put it on your number three cylinder.
  4. If the misfire jumps to the number one cylinder, you know it’s your plug. If it follows to number three, then we know it’s your coil pack. If it stays on number four, then we’ve eliminated the ignition system and can proceed to the next step.

Now your remaining options are either a problem with your fueling or a problem with the compression of your specific cylinder. To check this, perform a compression and a leak down test to verify the health of the motor, which will give you some peace of mind. However, if you find that the compression is low, or your leak down was excessive, you’ll have your answer right there. Typically, low compression and excessive leak down can be a result of valves not seating correctly, warped cylinder walls, bad piston rings, or other similar issues.

If you’ve done these two tests and everything has come back good, then we can cross that off the list (phew!) and move on to what’s next!

Fuel pressure

If you have an AccessPort, or readily available scan tool, checking your fuel pressure in regard to a misfire will be very easy. If your car is not direct injected you probably won’t be able to monitor it on your electronic control unit (ECU). So, you’ll more than likely need to hook up an inline fuel gauge to make sure you’re getting adequate pressure.

In this case, with our Mazdaspeed3, we’re able to see the PSI of our high-pressure system which makes diagnostics on this easier. Pressure, at idle, should be somewhere in the range of 400+ PSI for this vehicle. If you’re seeing a PSI under 100, then the pump is not creating any pressure and it’s just flowing through from the in-tank pump. If you’re seeing a PSI in the 200s, then your pressure relief valve may need to be replaced.

Monitoring your fuel pressure can give you lots of good information that can potentially tell you what’s causing a misfire. These issues aren’t as common, but they do still happen. If the pressures and fuel pump check out, then you’re on to the next step!

Injector seals

Injector seals are a very important part that often gets overlooked. On higher mileage cars, or cars creating more power, the injector seals are a contributor to misfires and loss of performance.

As you can see in the image, the upgraded injector seal on the left has a much more rigid design. These seals have a proven design that, believe it or not, don’t have a single reported failure! You can find those injector seals here.

While you’re working on this area, it’s a good time to clean out any carbon build-up in the ports and on the tips of the injectors. Carbon that builds up on the tips can keep the fuel from properly atomizing, so clean them as best you can. Make sure the seals, as well as the seats for the seals, are very clean so they can adequately seal.

The chance of an injector failing is very small on this platform, but it’s still possible. If you have a cylinder-specific misfire code, and you’ve eliminated all other possibilities, it’s time for a new injector.

Air (O2)

Back in the good old days, your engine used carburetors to moderate fuel/air intake. The engine would suck in air, and in turn, use the Venturi effect to draw in fuel. The more air that got drawn into the engine, the more the fuel would automatically get sucked in. Although this method works, it’s inefficient and not as reliable. When the weather changes, it may not always work or need to be adjusted.

Today, a car’s ECU uses sensors to monitor how much air comes into the engine. Once it knows how much air is coming in, it can appropriately choose how much fuel to inject to achieve the targeted air/fuel ratio (AFR) in the ECU’s mapping. If this monitoring system is not working correctly, the car will run poorly and probably sputter when you apply any throttle.

In Mazdas, the vehicle uses the mass air flow (MAF) sensor to detect how much air is entering the motor. The ECU reads this on a scale of 0–5 volts. The higher the number, the more air. This sensor also works in conjunction with the manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensor. This sensor tells the ECU what boost/vacuum reading is for the air entering the motor. If either of these is not operating correctly, misfire codes are very possible.
You can tell when these sensors are giving improper readings by using your AccessPort or scan tool to monitor MAF grams/sec or the MAP readings. If they are sporadic, or not within specifications, then you know you have an issue.

Air-related issues, such as vacuum leaks or sensor-related problems, are more prone to causing a P0300 code — they affect more than just one cylinder. So, if you have a P0300 instead of a specific cylinder code, it wouldn’t hurt to start checking here!

I hope this helps you have a better understanding of why misfire codes happen and how you can find a resolution. If you ever have any technical questions, please you guys give us a ring at 360-260-2675! We’re always happy to help!

Until next time,
Brett

10 Tips for Garage Days

Garage days and your Mazda

Garage days have been around for as long as the practice of modifying cars. Wrenching on your projects, some good company, hot food, cold beer — what could go wrong? Hopefully nothing, but that’s typically not the case in all honesty, especially in the Mazda game. Murphy’s Law truly takes effect, and what can happen usually will happen.

Garage days and your Mazda

Coming from the Bay Area, where I was the main go-to tech guy, I usually had two to 12 Mazdas at my house on any given weekend. (How the homeowners association didn’t get mad, I will never know.) I’ve been around the block a time or two and seen what can go wrong on garage days. I’ve seen what turns a fun day into 20 trips to the hardware store, tools everywhere, missing parts, and the typical “What did I get myself into?” feeling.

If you have a big job coming up and you’re questioning whether you can do it, some of these tips may help you get it done faster and more efficiently, and ensure you have a good time — instead of pulling your hair out.

Preparing for modding your Mazda

Tip 1: Preparation

Don’t wait until garage day to check the box. Always make sure you have the right parts and hardware in advance. Now I’m sure you’re thinking, “How could some people wait that long to open their shiny new parts?” Honestly, I agree. But some people toss the boxes aside and don’t open them until the day of installation. I’ve seen people go to put on that new part and discover they’re missing something they need. Get all the hardware taken care of beforehand.

Tip 2: Tools

Be prepared for different outcomes that may happen and have all the tools that you need at hand. If you’re lacking proper tools, I’d recommend working with a buddy who has a better collection. Having nice quality tools makes all the difference.

Tip 3: Rise and shine

Start early. Nothing sucks worse than nighttime falling with the car halfway apart (especially when you have work the next day and it’s your daily driver). If you can, plan your job to go over the course of the weekend so you’re less stressed and can take your time.

Flashlight for working on your Mazda

Tip 4: Plan for drops

Have a quality flashlight and a pick-up magnet handy. On a garage day, it’s not a matter of if but when you drop something important. There’s nothing worse than when that dropped part falls into the abyss or someplace you can’t reach. Keep a pick-up magnet for those annoying bolts. The flashlight is good for easily spotting shiny things, and for overall lighting during the job.

Tip 5: Really read the instructions

Thoroughly read up on the installation. Read the instructions. Read the forums and talk to some friends for tips. There is usually something helpful out there you may not have known already. For specialty jobs, know your torque specs and procedures.

Tip 6: Stay stocked

Stock up on brake clean, PB blaster, WD40, carb clean, gloves, or whatever else you might need beforehand. It’s annoying to have to stop what you’re doing just to go buy a $6 item that was forgotten. Also, if you wear them, get plenty of gloves. Your hands will thank you at the end of the day.

Tip 7: Catch a catch can

Have something around to catch fluids. Occasionally, people get deep into a job and realize they have to disconnect a line they didn’t know they’d have to. It’s always good to have some sort of catch can. Especially ones that can be sealed off so you can dispose of it easily. This goes along with our first tip, but I’m mentioning it again, because some people will overlook this.

Catch can to keep your garage clean

Tip 8: Organization

Organization trays are awesome. Use sticky notes for trays or zip locks you can label to keep tabs on bolts and nuts for their component parts. This makes reassembly on a big job much faster.

Prevent scratches in the garage

Tip 9: Prevent scratches

Moving blankets or big blankets are amazing for preventing any scratches while you’re leaning over the hood. Also, blankets help to hold the tools you’re currently using. You can drape them over and attach them with masking tape to keep them in place.

Check your work on your Mazda mods

Tip 10: Check your work

Once you’re all done, be sure to verify all of your work before starting the car. Verify torque specs, connectors, and the rest. After you start up, quickly check for any possible leaks, listen for odd noises, etc. For example, make sure no exhaust gas is escaping from the downpipe gasket.

I hope these tips are helpful one day! Make sure to follow the CorkSport blog for more Mazda modification tips and information. And, if these tips do come in handy, tag a photo of the finished product with #CorkSport on Instagram and show us your ride.

Cheers,

Brett

 

 

Winter Projects Update: Break in Procedure

CorkSport break in procedure

Over the past couple of months, CorkSport noticed that a handful of people — including a few guys here in the Washington and Oregon area — are doing engine builds over the winter. It’s very exciting to see more people raising their power goals and pushing the limits of the platform. As I continue to follow certain engine builds, I noticed that the question of a proper break in procedure always comes up.

We can all agree that making sure the rings fully seat themselves is the most important thing in the life of the piston, but everyone has a specific way of breaking in a newly built engine. Still, you may be looking for some guidance. Here at CorkSport, thanks to Master Mechanic and Technical Advisor Vincent Melon, we use a specific break in procedure we thought we’d share.

CorkSport break in procedure

Life comes at you fast

Four months ago, I blew a quarter-sized hole in the notorious piston three that forced my hand — it was time to get a built bottom end. I learned a lot during this build process and, most importantly, learned what a proper break in procedure looks like. I wanted to make sure to list out the steps Vincent and I took to guarantee the engine would be solid when fully broken in so that we could help folks like you who might go through the same process.

 

Breaking in a Mazda engineCorkSport's Vincent breaking in

Mazda engine blockHole in Mazda piston

 

Oil tips for breaking in your engine build

In our opinion, one of the most crucial parts of the break in process is choosing the correct oil to break in your new build. For people who aren’t sure which oil to go with, here’s what we recommend you run: Driven BR30.

Driven BR30 oil

Vincent has done a lot of research on this specific type of break in oil and swears by it. This oil will end up costing you around $10 a quart, and you’ll need around twenty quarts by the time the break in procedure is all said and done.

Burning the midnight oil

Once you have the oil you need, new plugs, and the engine put back together, it’s time for the crucial first startup. When you first start the car again, you will want to rev the car throughout the rpm range for about 15–20 minutes to get your coolant system and oil hot. This first step will work out any air bubbles in your cooling system. It will also keep any extra metal bits in the engine fully suspended in really hot oil. Once you’ve kept the rpms consistent for about 20 minutes, it’s time to change the oil. The next few steps are super easy to follow:

  • Change the oil again at 400 miles.
  • Change the oil again at 800 miles.
  • Change the oil again at 1000 miles.

Make sure when changing your oil at these increments, you keep a close eye on what the oil looks like. If you do not see metal bits in the oil you are changing, you’re fine. If you do notice a continued amount of metal in the oil, make sure everything is running and machined properly.

During the first 2000 miles, keep your rpms above 3000 and avoid cruising at any certain speed or rpm for long periods of time. The most crucial part of this process is making sure to change gears a lot. You can get into boost, but we recommend that you give the engine about 1000 miles before you really start romping on it. Once you have reached your 2500-mile mark, you’re good to drive it any way you like, and you can go back to using whatever type oil you want.

Cheers,

Luke

 

Shift Knobs and Tailpipes: A Car Guy’s Valentine’s Day

Mazdaspeed3 Leather Steering Wheel

While we prefer the smell of motor oil, the wafting scent of roses everywhere tells us it’s Valentine’s Day. If you’ve got a special someone, by this point you’ve bought the flowers and candy, made a dinner reservation, and detailed your Mazda, with a substantially lighter wallet telling the tale of your romance-fueled efforts. If not, what are you doing reading this blog? Get to work before before you end up demoted to the couch!

But for those who might not have a date set up, don’t worry. Your true love (your Mazda), will always be there for you. Here are a few ideas for how you can spend Valentine’s Day with your ride so you don’t end up sitting home alone handling your camshaft.

Dinner and a movie

Spending an evening in guarantees one thing: You’re not driving. And we know you — you’re happiest when you drive. So, we’re giving you a destination. Hop in your Mazda and go grab a burger or a slice. Afterward, hit the cinema and enjoy some kick-ass action. We recommend you check out “John Wick 2” and watch Keanu Reeves wreck shop on anyone and everyone that crosses him. Or, if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s time to check out “Fast and Furious” star Vin Diesel’s “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage.” If you happen to run into a cute, single lady at the theater, why not offer her a ride home?

Check out our ultimate driving playlist for music suggestions for the ride to and from the movies.

Leather play

You’re too smart to get roped into a screening of “Fifty Shades Darker” this Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a little fun with leather — by installing CorkSport’s Mazdaspeed 3 leather steering wheel.

Mazdaspeed3 Leather Steering Wheel

We’ll opt for the soft, stylish feel of hand-wrapped and stitched leather on a racing-inspired grip any day. If you’re feeling bold, add a leather shift knob. Once installed, hold on tight. You’re in for a wild ride with these two.

Can’t get enough? We’ve got a leather e-brake handle, because braking safety is just as important as an agreed upon safeword.

Oil and massage

On this special day, it’s time to treat your baby to a little TLC. Dim the lights and break out the oil … then turn the lights back on so you can see what you’re doing. Give your whip an oil change and, if you really want to splurge on your Mazda, install a CorkSport SkyActiv Aluminum Oil Catch Can. If you want to be extra smooth, add a CorkSport Oil Catch Can Drain Valve Kit to your cart, so you can really be slick with the oil. Your ride and your garage will thank you. Then, bust out the loofa and the wax and give your baby the massage she deserves, rubbing her down from tail end to headlights.

CorkSport Mazdaspeed Waxing

These suggestions are sure to get your engine revving. Date or not, your Valentine’s Day will be an affair to remember. Treat yourself to a new part and have the night you and your Mazda deserve. Whether you spend the night modding or taking your ride to a late-night movie, tag us with #CorkSport in a photo so we can immortalize your Mazda romance on our Instagram feed.